Hameed Akbar resides in Kabul and is currently advising the Afghan government and the UNDP on issues of peace-building and state-building as part of a small team of national and international policy experts assessing the drivers of conflict and state fragility in Afghanistan. Mr. Akbar began his professional career in 2007 and has since risen to senior management positions helping with the management of multi-million-dollar projects for different national and international agencies including the Afghan government, the UN, and USAID, focusing on local governance and stability, community development, and women empowerment and inclusion into political and socioeconomic processes. Additionally, Mr. Akbar worked as a graduate research assistant in 2013 for the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the UN in New York.
Mr. Akbar has written on different issues of regional and global concern such as the war on terror, the Afghan conflict, U.S.-Af-Pak relations, human rights, religious extremism, sectarian and ethnic violence, and humanitarian and military interventions. Mr. Akbar's academic and professional experiences have contributed significantly to enhancing his understanding of how war-ravaged societies can transition out of conflict. He sees institutional incompetence, lack of democratic representation, inadequate alignment (coherence) between development strategies of recipient and donor nations, weak law enforcement, and oversight mechanisms and corrupt tribal/patronage-driven influences as the major impediments to best development practices in post-conflict contexts. Mr. Akbar is a former Fulbright scholar and holds an M.A. in International Affairs from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service.
Folukemi Akinmeji is a broadly skilled professional with over 15 years of professional experience in government relations, policy analysis, advocacy, media relations, corporate communications, crisis management, and stakeholder engagement. She is currently a policy, government and public affairs advisor for Chevron Nigeria Limited operating from the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja, where she liaises with the National Assembly and the Executive arm of the Government of Nigeria. Ms. Akinmeji maintains a wide network of relationships with government agencies such as the Ministry of Petroleum, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the National Assembly, and the Presidency. She is a strategic leader who is adept at building strong partnerships with public and private clients.
Ms. Akinmeji holds an M.A. International Public Policy from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. She also holds an M.A. in Corporate Communications & Public Affairs from the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland and a B.A. (Hons) in Philosophy from the Lagos State University in Lagos, Nigeria. Her interests include conflict resolution, national security, geo-politics in Africa, foreign affairs, trends in world politics and human rights issues. A native English speaker, Ms. Akinmeji has a basic knowledge of French and Spanish.
Mir Ahmad BinQasem
Mir Ahmad BinQuasem is a practicing barrister at the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. He is a member of the Defense Team, a group of lawyers defending key opposition leaders of Bangladesh who are facing trial at the International Crimes Tribunal in Dhaka. He represented high profile political leaders, journalists and human rights activist both before the International Crimes Tribunal and in District/High Courts of Bangladesh. He has worked with international human rights organizations, multinational NGOs, international donor agencies, international think tanks, international media outlets and foreign missions in Dhaka to promote fair trial system, due judicial process, human rights, civil and political rights, good governance and freedom of press. He is consulted on a regular basis by the international community for analysis of Bangladesh’s political and security situation.
Mr. BinQuasem completed his Bar Vocational Course from the Inns of Court School of Law, London and was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2007. His other legal practice areas include judicial review, international trade, corporate law, admiralty, military law, foreign direct investment, public private projects, international/multinational financing, and Islamic finance and banking.
Catarina Caldeira da Silva
Catarina Caldeira da Silva was born in Lisbon, Portugal under Salazar's regime. This dictated her parents' choice to enroll her in the German School of Lisbon, thus giving them the opportunity to be in contact with different cultures and mindsets since kindergarten. This experience has proven to be of paramount importance in her career and her perception of the world. She has a degree in History from the Nova University in Lisbon and an M.A. in European Studies from the European College in Bruges, Belgium. She has dedicated her professional life to the European project and joined the European Parliament as early as 1986, immediately after Portugal's accession to the European Communities.
In Parliament, Ms. Caldeira da Silva was appointed chief of staff to the economic policy cluster, which included policy areas as diverse as the internal market, transport, environment, climate and health, and economic and monetary policy. She has also been in charge of a series of enquiry and special committees such as racism, xenophobia, and the 2008 economic and financial crisis. In 2010, she was appointed special advisor responsible for inter-institutional relations, in particular the dialogue between the EPP leadership, the President of the European Commission, and other commissioner cabinets.
In August 2012, she was offered a unique opportunity to become the first EPP senior staffer based in Washington, D.C., with the task of fostering the political relations between legislators across the pond. She also had the great honor of holding for one year a fellowship at CTR at Johns Hopkins as well as SCAR at George Mason University. Back in Brussels since October 2014, Ms. Caldeira da Silva was invited to pursue the task she started in Washington, D.C. She continues to dedicate full attention to transatlantic relations and developing at many different levels all opportunities for a fruitful dialogue amongst legislators, stakeholders, congress staffers, and academia. She is deeply convinced that a deepened, well informed dialogue is instrumental to peace and stability around the world.
Sarah Campbell is a manager with Engility Corporation (formally TASC), a company specializing in national security solutions for the U.S. federal government. In her current role, Ms. Campbell directly supports the Director of International Cooperation at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as team lead for the Office of International Cooperation. Ms. Campbell helps execute DARPA's international cooperation engagement in areas of interest, and assists and advises on critical bilateral and multilateral relationships and agreements with foreign partners. She has traveled extensively and maintains a broad network of contacts in the international community. She also serves as Engility Corporation's onsite technical program lead at DARPA and is directly involved in program level management, oversight and communication with 14 direct reports.
From 2007-2012, Ms. Campbell supported the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) in various capacities to include the DTRA J-9 Office of International Cooperation. She began her career in international relations in 2006 as a public policy analyst with Austin based geopolitical publishing firm, Stratfor, Strategic Forecasting. Ms. Campbell received her bachelors in Political Science from the University of Mary Washington, where she played on the collegiate women's soccer team all four years. She later completed her M.A. in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs. Her interests include national security, innovation, and science and technology policy. She currently resides in Annapolis, Maryland, with her husband Matt and two young children.
Betsie Chacko serves as a policy advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs and the Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In this role, Ms. Chacko works on strengthening pandemic and emerging infectious disease preparedness efforts within the Department and building international partnerships to promote health security worldwide.
Prior to her work in the Office of Health Affairs, Ms. Chacko served as deputy director of the Interagency Modeling and Atmospheric Assessment Center, which coordinates and distributes the official atmospheric modeling products for the United States government during incidents involving a hazardous atmospheric release. Ms. Chacko has been with DHS for nine years and has worked on a range of issues, from immigration to cybersecurity. She received her M.A. in International Affairs from the American University in Washington, D.C.
Maria de los Angeles Estrada Gonzalez
Maria de los Angeles Estrada Gonzalez is currently the executive director of Por Lo Derecho, a non-profit organization that aims to foster a culture of lawfulness in Mexico. Previously, she worked for the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City at the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs as their Culture of Lawfulness program specialist. In this post she worked mainly with the Government of Mexico, NGOs, and subject-matter experts, in order to implement the fourth pillar of the Merida Initiative: Building Strong and Resilient Communities.
In 2011, Ms. Estrada Gonzalez began working for the Mexican Ministry of the Interior in the Technical Secretariat for the Implementation of the Criminal Justice System. There, she was in charge of institutional liaison between states and the federal government in order to evaluate the transit from an inquisitorial to an accusatory criminal system.
Ms. Estrada Gonzalez received her LL.B. from the Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico (ITAM) in 2004. At the time, she was working for the Federal Institute of Transparency, Public Information Access, and Personal Data Protection and was named director of analysis and projects in 2008. Afterwards, she became legal advisor for one of the commissionaires of Mexico City´s Institute of Transparency and Public Information Access. Ms. Estrada Gonzalez received her M.A. at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, where she studied public international law, humanitarian law, and transitional justice in post-conflict societies. Her master's capstone project was on “The Mexican War Against Organized Crime and the Implementation of Transitional Justice Methods in Mexico.”
Sameek Ghosh is a public affairs specialist at the Public Affairs Office of the U.S. Consulate General in Kolkata, India. Prior to joining the U.S. Mission in India in 2010, Mr. Ghosh worked for six years as a Kolkata-based senior journalist with the largest Bengali language daily newspaper, Anandabazar Patrika (ABP). There he covered topics ranging from international affairs, science, environment and climate change issues, foreign policy, and art and culture.
Before joining ABP in 2004, Mr. Ghosh worked briefly as an adjunct faculty member teaching Zoology at Gurudas College in Kolkata after finishing his M.Sc. in Zoology from Calcutta University in 2003. Mr. Ghosh has completed a post-graduate diploma in Mass Communication and Journalism in 2011. He completed his primary and secondary education in Kolkata and received his B.Sc. in Zoology from Calcutta University in 2001.
Mr. Ghosh’s interests include: security studies and geopolitics in the South and Southeast Asia; India's Look/Act East Policy; northeast India and its role in regional connectivity; foreign affairs; trends in the U.S.-India bilateral relationship; rights of women and children; and transnational crimes and human rights issues. Mr. Ghosh is a native of Kolkata and speaks fluent English, Bengali and Hindi.
Lawen Hawezy currently focuses on researching Kurdistan’s affairs, in particular the war on ISIS and relations with the UN, U.S., and Iran. He provides advice and assistance to the Program on Peace-building and Rights at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights, as well as Kurdistan Regional Government’s High Committee to Follow Up and Respond to International Reports.
In 2010-2015, Mr. Hawezy was posted with the Permanent Mission of Iraq to the UN, where he was Iraq’s representative to the UN Economic and Social Council and covered a wide range of issues from sustainable development goals to peace and security in the Middle East. Previously, he participated in the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) for Young Business and Economic Leaders. In 2006, Mr. Hawezy was special assistant to the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq and later served as a diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has also worked as Power Analyst at the Royal Dutch Shell headquarters in The Hague.
Mr. Hawezy comes from a Peshmerga family, and as a child he had to move frequently to mountain refuges to escape violence. As a consequence, he has studied in many border towns of Iraq, Iran, and Syria, and speaks seven languages. Mr. Hawezy is a graduate of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy’s GMAP Program where he focused on security studies. Prior to that, he studied at the Vrije University of Amsterdam where he received his M.Sc. in Economics, focusing on marketing strategy.
Meghan Lazier uses communication, design and strategy to help solve some of the world’s biggest and most complicated problems. She is currently a designer at the Lab@OPM (Office of Personnel Management), a federal government innovation lab that leverages design to transform government programs and services.
Prior to working in federal government, she worked at the intersection of communications and international development in Afghanistan, developing multimedia campaigns for clients including USAID, the US Military and the British Embassy. While overseas, she led the launch of the first-ever TEDx event in Afghanistan, which is now run by a group of local Afghan students. She is a recent graduate of the Design for Social Innovation MFA program at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. She was a Fulbright Scholar in Hong Kong, and her work has been featured in the New York Times and Fast Company.
Sabeen Malik is an expert on law and economic development issues, innovation economies, tech and internet issues, and next generation economic trends. She currently serves as a senior advisor to the Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment. Ms. Malik is an unrepentant global enthusiast, passionate about international economic trends and business issues. Along with a passion for global trends in business and economic issues, she also is an expert on bridging differences between the public and private sector to create international partnerships addressing issues such as access to the internet for the next 1.5 billion users, global unemployment trends, White House initiatives on global entrepreneurship, and environmental degradation of the oceans.
Prior to public service at the U.S. Department of State working for two presidential appointees, Ms. Malik focused on academic interests in international business and economic law including research at the Georgetown University Law Center on international investment law issues, and clerking for the New York Commercial Division and the U.S. International Trade Commission. Ms. Malik has served on several boards and is an Aspen Socrates Fellow, a member of the German Marshall Young Transatlantic Network, and former board member of the Georgetown University Law Center International Arbitration Society. Ms. Malik is a frequent speaker who has spoken at the World Bank, the UN, and the White House. She earned her LL.M. in International Business and Economic law at the Georgetown University Law Center, a J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law; and a B.A. from New York University.
Yosuke Mizukami began working for Kyocera Corporation in 1990 in Japan’s International Sales Division of Semiconductor Components Group. In 1997, he joined Kyocera America Inc. in the San Jose sales office before returning to Kyocera Corporation Japan in 2002. Mr. Mizukami was then transferred to Kyocera Fineceramics SAS, the Kyocera France sales office near Paris. He currently works at Kyocera Corporation Japan.
Mr. Mizukami was born in Fukuoko Prefecture, Japan and graduated from Kita-kyushu University with an English language major.
Josel Mostajo is currently working as a director in the Office of the President of the Philippines seconded to the Office of the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) since 2011. He also serves as a liaison of the Office of the President to the DFA. At the DFA he is a special assistant and legal adviser of the Maritime and Ocean Affairs Office. He handles law of the sea issues, maritime law, and maritime delimitation negotiations. He was a member of the Philippine Technical Panel which negotiated the Philippines-Indonesia Exclusive Economic Zone Boundary Agreement signed in 2014, and he is currently a member of the Technical Panel for the Philippines-Palau Maritime Delimitation Talks. Mr. Mostajo represented the Philippines in various meetings and negotiations at the UN, particularly on law of the sea issues such as the annual resolutions on law of the sea and fisheries and the ongoing discussions on biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction. He also represented the Philippines in various ASEAN meetings.
From July to December 2010, he was a director and legal adviser of the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson at the Office of the President. From 2007 to 2010, Mr. Mostajo was a legal adviser to then Senator (now President) Benigno S. Aquino III in the Senate of the Philippines where he advised him on international law, trade policies and human rights. He also served as legal consultant to the presidential adviser on peace process, particularly on the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law between the government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines from 2005-2006. In 2007, he interned at the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court at The Hague, The Netherlands. He was also a foreign intern of Washington-based law firm Foley Hoag in 2013.
Mr. Mostajo earned his philosophy and law degrees from the University of San Carlos, Cebu City in the Philippines and his LL.M. in International Human Rights Law from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana (magna cum laude) in 2013.
Lieutenant Noyes is an active duty Coast Guard Officer assigned to the Coast Guard Office of Maritime and International Law, Prevention Law Group in Washington, D.C. He is responsible for providing legal advice to the headquarters level policy offices and operational commanders across the Coast Guard for Ports, Waterways, and Coastal Security missions, Marine Safety missions, and Marine Environmental Protection missions.
In previous operational assignments, he served as the Executive Officer onboard the 110-foot patrol boat USCGC KODIAK ISLAND and as a Deck Watch Officer and Assistant Operations Officer onboard the 225-foot Ice Breaking Buoy Tender USCGC ALDER. Lieutenant Noyes earned a B.Sc. in Government from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT. He received a Juris Doctor from Washington College of Law at American University in Washington, D.C. Lieutenant Noyes has been a member of the New York State Bar since 2014.
Dr. Saira Bano Orakzai is a research scholar with a focus on international relations, foreign policy, peace and conflict studies, peacebuilding and post-war reconstruction, and Islamic concepts of peace and human rights. She is an adjunct fellow at the Asia-Pacific Centre and associate lecturer at the University of New England, Australia. She completed her Ph.D. in Peace Studies as an AusAid scholar from Australia in 2013, and was also a Caux scholar in Switzerland in 2010. In 2014-2015, she became a Charles Wallace trust fellow at the School of Advanced Studies and later a research fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London. Dr. Orakzai’s work focuses on the conflict in Afghanistan-Pakistan in the post-9/11 period. In her work she deals with questions of historical narratives, victimhood, grievances, and the need for a mechanism to address the conflict based on extremist violence and terrorism. She has also published papers on the failure of peacebuilding approaches in Pakistan-Afghanistan, Libya, and Iraq, and the need for an indigenous framework to deal with conflict in these societies. Her book on conflict in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan (to which she belongs) is under publication.
She holds M.A. and M.Phil. degrees in international relations and taught at the University of Peshawar from 2004-2009. She also holds a post-graduate diploma in International Law of Human Rights and remained a fellow at the Human Rights Consortium, University of London in 2013.
Mohammed Salama is currently a regional manager in Roots Group Arabia, where he is responsible for all the international trade activities in the Middle East between the U.S. and Germany. He pursued his career in several international organizations involving corporate relations, strategy, and development, and he took part and conducted several national projects such as Egypt’s CSR Strategy Plan with the Ministry of Investment. He later joined the Department of Foreign Affairs & International Trade, where he was in the political and defense sections. Mr. Salama is a research analyst in the international affairs division at the Center for International Relations. He also works at the Middle East desk at the Geopolitical Consultancy Wikistrat, where he has conducted numerous projects, simulations, and geopolitical strategies. He formerly took the post of national political and security advisor at Geopolilcity Inc., where he conducted regional geopolitical, political, political economy, security, and defense Intelligence gathering and analysis. Mr. Salama has several publications in the International Affairs Forum, where he focuses on Middle East politics, terrorism, and defense. He has an ongoing radio show segment about the Middle East, with an on-air delivery in the U.S. Midwest region. He is interested in politics, terrorism, international trade, and defense. He also has a passion for reading, writing, and travelling, and he is a former kick boxer.
Mr. Salama got his B.A. in Business Administration with a focus in Management Information System from the Arab Academy For Science & Technology & Maritime Transport. Prior graduation, Mr. Salama was an exchange student at the University of Wisconsin and a trainee at the U.S. Department of State. Mohammed pursued his post graduate studies in Strategic Management & Leadership from the University of Cornell and an ongoing MBA from Edinburgh Business School.
Dana Shafie is a cybersecurity executive with more than 25 years of experience in the field. He began his security career as a U.S. Naval Officer and Cryptologist. As an airborne reconnaissance expert, he flew over a hundred sensitive missions in hostile territory earning two Air Medals and two Navy Commendation medals. He was a “plank-owner,” or founding officer, of the Navy Component Task Force for Computer Network Defense, which was instrumental in defining cyber security policy for the Department of the Navy.
Mr. Shafie was ordered by Presidential Recall to active service after the attacks of 9/11. He took a leadership role in the National Security Agency’s National Security Operations Center. Returning to civilian life, Mr. Shafie was appointed as the lead security architect of the FBI Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) Program. In 2008, Mr. Shafie was appointed to the role of lead Security Architect for the U.S. Navy Consolidated Afloat Network Environment (CANES) program. In 2012, Mr. Shafie became the executive vice president and chief technology officer of a service-disabled veteran-owned business. In 2014, Mr. Shafie returned to Northrop Grumman to provide cybercecurity thought leadership on cloud security and resiliency to the Department of Homeland Security. Mr. Shafie is currently the principal investigator and project lead for a Research and Development team designing a next-generation Cyber Incident Response and Forensics kit for DHS.
Mr. Shafie is a graduate of Villanova University and the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Post-Graduate Intelligence Program. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia, and when he is not designing security solutions he can be found racing his vintage sailboat on the Potomac River.
Jiro Yoshino is the founder of the Moonshot Project and the executive director of the Japan Center of the Center for Asia Leadership Initiatives, a social non-profit organization that focuses on organizing leadership programs across Asia. Prior to this position, he worked as a marketing director for the advertising company Dentsu to provide high value-added marketing and technical advisory services to Japan’s largest consumer-product maker. He led a marketing team, a creative team, and a promotion team to boost this client’s sales.
From March to December of 2000, Mr. Yoshino participated in a project for the Office of the National Commission on Educational Reform. Although this project, which was designed to support the Prime Minister, was a demanding endeavor, it demonstrated the importance of education to him. He has an M.A. in Environmental Economics from the Graduate Faculty of Economics at Kyoto University and an M.A. in Public Administration at Harvard Kennedy School. He is also one of the fellows of THE U.S.-Japan Leadership Program organized by the U.S.-Japan foundation. He was born in Western Japan (Hyogo Prefecture). When not working, he enjoys traveling abroad.